Thomas Tuchel has joked that he wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight against Antonio Conte following the two managers’ bust-up last weekend. The Chelsea and Tottenham bosses clashed twice during last Sunday’s game at Stamford Bridge, with the home side feeling aggrieved after Spurs came from behind twice to controversially earn a 2-2 draw against the Blues.
As the full-time whistle went, the managers shook hands, but Tuchel held onto Conte, annoyed that his opposite number had apparently refused to look him in the eye. The resulting clash between each team’s coaching staff and players led to both managers receiving red cards and fines, but both downplayed the severity of the incident in the subsequent post-match interviews, putting the clash down to the heat of the moment and the intensity of the London derby. Tuchel has since doubled down on this reasoning in an interview with Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea’s game at Leeds on Sunday.
‘It was about passion and I’m very passionate on the side-lines and the game sucked both of us in,’ the German said. ‘It was a little outburst of passion from Antonio and me and okay now we have to live with people laughing at us and making fun of us which is fair enough.
‘It was entertainment, nobody got hurt, we didn’t insult each other, and I think that it was just passion and it fitted to the game and to the derby. ‘[However] we don’t need this every week and I can live happily without any red cards from now on, but it fitted somehow.’
As Tuchel alluded to, much humour has been made out of the incident by fans, with bookmakers even speculating on which manager would win in a fight, with the Blues boss the surprise favourite.
‘They had me as the favourite? I’m surprised I have no muscles, I don’t have the biceps!’ Tuchel joked.
While he was sent off and fined £35,000, Tuchel will still be in the dugout at Elland Road for the upcoming game, with his one-match touchline ban suspended while he appeals the ruling, Tuchel was lucky to not have been red carded before full-time however, as after picking up a yellow for an earlier clash, he ought to have been shown another for excessively celebrating Chelsea’s second goal.
Upon Reece James scoring, Tuchel sprinted and cheered down the touchline, almost reminiscent of Jose Mourinho’s iconic celebration, something that he has admitted he shouldn’t have done.
‘I’m happy that I did not get a muscle injury from that run!’ he added. ‘In the middle of it I thought, “what are you doing? It’s still so long to go it’s not a last-minute winner, just go back”. And then I got a bit stuck in the middle and it’s a bit awkward.’